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Mishawaka Museum | About the Museum
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About the Museum

Meet the Board of Directors

Don Heirman

Don Heirman

Don is a graduate of MHS Class of ’58.  He was both born, raised, and lived in Mishawaka until he and his bride Lois moved to Arlington, Virginia after Don graduated from Purdue University and their marriage on campus. After serving on active duty in the Pentagon nearby, Don and Lois moved to New Jersey and were both employed by Bell Labs.  Don retired early after 34 years of service and started his own corporation in1997—Don Heirman Consultants.  His continued interest in Mishawaka where his parents lived for over 50 years never waned to the extent that he formed the museum to spotlight the city’s history.

Joe DeKever

Joe DeKever is a lifelong Mishawaka resident, graduate of the Mishawaka High School Class of 1961. He worked for Mishawaka Federal Savings and MFB Financial for 44 years until his retirement. He served on the city council as councilman-at-large and has written the weekly Joe’s Jottings, the Enterprise sports column, since the 1960s. The column from time to time highlights the history of Indiana high school basketball based on on-site visits of the school gyms. He also has attended the Indianapolis 500 race for over 30 years. He is a strong advocate for Mishawaka and our city’s unique identity.

Pete Dekever

Pete DeKever

Pete DeKever is a lifelong Mishawaka resident and a proud graduate of Mishawaka High School Class of 1986.  He has taught and coached at Penn High School since 1990. For the past 20 years, he has also been researching and writing about Mishawaka’s history, including publishing widely read books on our city: With Our Past, Past to Present, Freddie Fitzsimmons: A Baseball Life, and Walking Mishawaka.  He is also on the advisory board of the Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum. But most of all, Pete brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm as the unofficial “town historian”.

Randy Long photo

Randy L. Long
Board Member

Randy Long was born in South Bend and spent his formative years in Michiana, growing up primarily in Constantine, Michigan. Trips to the “big city” were often to Mishawaka. Randy joined the United States Navy in 1983 and served until the end of the first Gulf War in 1991. He works for the ANSI National Accreditation Board, accrediting laboratories testing various products which must meet government regulations. Randy has always had an appreciation for antique furniture and electronics and in more recent years an interest in U.S. history. Randy says, “I didn’t like history much in school, but now that I have some, I find it very interesting.”

Our Plans

Our Purpose

The Mishawaka Historical Museum is organized exclusively for educational purposes including preserving and celebrating Mishawaka’s history and culture including its people, industries and businesses, organizations and historic buildings. This business activity for our organization is as follows:

Organize, identify, and display these items:
  1. Industry past and present
  2. Historical buildings
  3. Military (Civil War to present)
  4. Prominent Mishawakans
  5. Schools and education
  6. Sports achievements/participants
  7. Religions and churches
  8. Service organizations
  9. Special city events.

Specific display would include:
  1. Maps showing walking areas of interest in downtown
  2. Announcements of special events
  3. Historic photographs
  4. Location of other museums not in center city
  5. Location of public library

Artifacts of historic activity such as former industrial companies

We Need your Support

Please take a moment to consider donating to the museum.  Donating or loaning historical artifacts, volunteering, or financial donations and sponsorship are a few of the ways you can help.  Please download this form for further information on how to donate or this letter on our background.

You can also head on over to our GoFundMe page to donate.

Charitable Donations Accepted

All donations whether in funds or in artifacts to be viewed in the museum can be given to the Museum Corporation as a charitable donation and hence as a tax deduction. Here is the IRS letter granting that deduction. You may access the IRS letter here.